File photo: INLSA

Cape Town - The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) has slammed as "barbaric" the attack on an ambulance in Cape Town that was transporting a critically injured eight 8-year-old boy who died due to the delay.

Fedusa secretary general Dennis George said: "Fedusa is shocked to learn of this barbaric act by criminals who have no respect for life and sends its condolences to the family of the deceased."

George said attacks of this nature has been increasing at an alarming rate and that the Western Cape in 2016 experienced 100 attacks.

Read: Ambulance attack robs parents of their only child

"This year has seen several incidents reported in not just the Western Cape, but also in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Free State and Limpopo," George said.

According to George, the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) is considering withdrawing its services.

Hospersa has written an open letter to the Western Cape Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, while Fedusa has written a similar letter to the national Health Minister Dr Aaron Aaron Motsoaledi.

Hospersa general secretary Noel Desfontaines said: "We were shunned and told that these attacks are not a health issue but are of a criminal nature, but we will again write to the Minister to inform him of our members' intention to possibly withdraw the service which would make the attacks on our members a health issue."

Fedusa affiliate, The Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA), said those dedicated to serving "people that are in distress have become soft targets for thugs".

PSA provincial manager in the Western Cape Koos Kruger said: "Society has degenerated to a state where there is no respect for any life. The senseless attack was not aimed at a cash-in-transit vehicle transporting millions of rand – it was an ambulance transporting a critically-injured eight-year-old patient to hospital."

Kruger added: "Whilst there is understanding for the fact that the conditions under which EMS staff render services are not always ideal or controllable, more must be done to decisively address the situation to prevent a collapse of public emergency-care services."